Officials take appropriate steps

Pro-active.

That’s what Erath County Judge Tab Thompson and county commissioners were this past week when they called a Special Meeting for Emergency Preparedness to deal with flooding and other problems associated with recent record rainfall.

During the meeting, representatives of the city, county and state agencies packed into a conference room at the Erath County Courthouse, sitting shoulder-to-shoulder, to talk and strategize about the best ways to proceed.

In the end, Thompson declared roads in Erath County to be an “emergency and disaster” situation, a move that Thompson and other officials hope will prompt the state to provide much-needed aid to help with what is expected to be a costly “recovery.”

Erath County Emergency Management Coordinator John Wooley said it might be “a good 10 days” before the county can assess the extent of the damage.

It was also refreshing that officials are spending time looking into potential additional problems that could arise - in other words, continuing to be pro-active as opposed to being reactive.

Commissioner Randy Lowe expressed concern over the Everett, Jack Berry and Copeland flood-control lakes - that they might not be able to handle all the water.

However, Tony Huffman, district conservationist with the office of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, said Erath County has 76 “conservation lakes” in four separate watersheds and that the lakes can still flow in tremendous amounts of water at this point.

Huffman said the lakes are inspected annually and none have significant problems. Most of the lakes hold water for approximately 20 days before they go back to the principal inlet level, Huffman said.

“They are emptying as we speak, which is a good thing,” Huffman said.

A very good thing.

But what’s even better is we have officials like Thompson, Lowe, county commissioners Lynn Tidwell and Doug Eberhart, and others who are take such serious matters extremely seriously.

And for that, we should be grateful.

— Stephenville Empire-Tribune